Schneider denies that it is looking to buy Rockwell
UPDATED: Schneider Electric has denied a suggestion by a US financial analyst that it is looking to buy Rockwell Automation in a deal that could value the US automation giant at around $18bn. Rockwell’s share price surged by 6.9% on the rumour, before dropping back to a 4.2% gain for the day (21 October). It closed at $122.99 – its highest price since July 2015. Following Schneider's denial, the stock price dropped back below $120.
In a note to clients, Steve Winoker of the New York analyst Sanford C Bernstein, said that Schneider was preparing a takeover offer for Rockwell, which he described as “an extremely attractive asset”.
“Our experience with Schneider suggests that they can be very aggressive on the acquisition front when they want an asset,” he added.
According to a recent league table of global automation suppliers compiled by ARC Advisory Group and Control magazine, Schneider is in fourth position with 2015 revenues of $6.36bn, followed by Rockwell Automation in fifth position on $5.87bn. (The top three positions are held by Siemens, ABB and Emerson.)
Rockwell employs around 22,000 people and has customers in more than 80 countries. In 2015, its sales fell by 5% to $6.3bn, but it ended the year with 1% organic growth.
Over the years, Rockwell Automation has been the subject of many takeover rumours, none of which have come to fruition.